Yesterday I was working on an ongoing and seemingly endless project: cleaning out my basement. I’m on a mission to simplify my life, and that means releasing items that no longer bring me joy (I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering, but I get the core concept).
I have an office in the basement that I don’t use much anymore since moving to a rented office (I tend to be more productive outside of the house, so it’s worth the cost). The basement space consists of a desk and table. Computers, monitors, and a small filing cabinet are gone, either repurposed or disposed of. The filing cabinet landed in my rented office, but I didn’t take all of the files with me. Those folders have sat on the basement desk for several months awaiting review.
While examining the contents of one of the folders, I found the last print copy of Computerworld, an Information Technology magazine that used to be a fixture on computer and network pros desks. The magazine launched an online presence many years ago, and eventually that resulted in the downsizing and elimination of the print copy.
I recall reading a message, whether in the print copy, online, or in email, that Computerworld was interested in freelance writers. With no such experience, I inquired and landed my first freelance writing gig. My goal was exposure and to give back, while earning a few dollars. I remember being pleasantly surprised that the job paid more than I originally believed. Earning money while writing – what a concept!
My first article, published almost exactly 13 years ago to the day, began a three-year relationship with Computerworld, where I provided content on computer networking and information security on a not-quite-monthly basis. Originally I had expected the three-part series I pitched to be the extent of the job, but I suppose that my contributions were well-received as the editorial department eventually requested more.
It was a fun experience until I received my first negative feedback. I don’t recall the details, only asking the editor how or if I should respond. Essentially I crafted a very professional reply and learned that not everyone will agree with what I write. A solid lesson that I have built on over the years.
I haven’t written as a freelancer for about a decade now, but I’m suddenly intrigued about the possibility of returning to the field. We will see.
I kept the magazine, by the way. It still brings me joy.